General Traveling

Home…for a few days at least

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Back home and right back to work.

It was nice the customs officer at Wellington was so friendly last night and even told me “Welcome back!”, in contrast to the gruff customs officer in Los Angeles who closely questioned me on what I was doing in the US and how long I would be there (um, hello, did you notice the passport you are looking at is from the US? Made me feel more at home going to NZ than to my own native land…).

Something else I’m looking forward to in 2015: getting my residence class visa!! At my two-year mark in New Zealand I can “upgrade” (so to speak) from my work visa to a resident. A year or so after that I can apply for permanent residency.

In five days I’ll be back on an airplane, but fortunately for just a quick flight down to Dunedin, to visit and travel with a few friends from the UK who are road tripping around the South Island at the moment. Then I’ll fly back from Christchurch a couple days later.

Never a dull moment!

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Categories: General Traveling, New Zealand | 2 Comments

Happy New Year 2015

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Happy New Year!!!

2014 saw me bungee jump for the first time (actually twice), travel the South Island of New Zealand, see my first wild penguins and even start to monitor their nest boxes, dive with Great White Sharks, travel to Australia for the first time (storm chasing, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, crocs and kangaroos, and fun with friends), visit family for Christmas for the first time in four years, spend time with friends new and old, present as a keynote speaker on storms and chasing at the New Zealand Meteorological Society conference, do my first radio interview (also about storms), explore more of beautiful New Zealand, and throw myself into interesting work projects related to storms and a lot of programming.

I closed out the year in style in Sydney, on a boat in the beautiful harbour! We had a great 9pm and midnight fireworks show, and it was an awesome start to 2015! In the new year I’m looking forward to returning to the U.S. for storm chasing in May, seeing old friends, showing my sister around parts of New Zealand on her first overseas trip in February, hopefully doing the same with my parents later in the year, starting to get involved in more media work at work, more Python programming, becoming at least conversationally fluent hopefully in Korean (have been learning it for fun in the last year), and whatever other new adventures come my way.

I am going to try again to update this blog a little more often with parts of my adventures, even if it’s for just a handful of people reading (thinking of you John and Nancy!).

I’d love to stay and write a little more but am about to board my flight from Sydney back to Wellington.

I wish you a healthy and happy 2015!!

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Categories: Australia, General Traveling, New Zealand, Sydney | 2 Comments

Touching New Ground

Nebraska!

Nebraska!

Whenever I go to a new place, I usually have to touch it. And not the hard concrete of a sidewalk or road, but preferably the ground. Preferably with grass.

Strange, I know. When some of my friends and I went up to Nebraska for my first time in 2010, to set up for a storm chase the next day, I ran out of the car (at the first gas station we stopped at inside the state) towards the nearest grassy patch and took a photo of my hand, much to everyone’s amusement. 🙂

I don’t always remember to do it, but I seem to get more excited about the idea of new sights and adventures when I do.

Moreover, whenever I see the sea (at least before I lived on a tiny island surrounded by it for 2 years), I have to dip my feet in it. At least when it’s a new coast I’ve never been to before.

Waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola, Florida. Not the first time to the Gulf, but first time to the Florida Peninsula Gulf!

Waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola, Florida. Not the first time to the Gulf, but first time to the Florida Peninsula Gulf!

Just to show part of my ocean view from where I stood at Pensacola...in my opinion, not a bad place for an overnight stop!

Just to show part of my ocean view from where I stood at Pensacola…in my opinion, not a bad place for an overnight stop!

On my first day on Kwajalein, when one of my co-workers was showing me around, we stopped briefly at one of the beaches so he could show me the view. I asked if he minded if I ran out to the water for a minute. He didn’t, so I did. I ran out on Camp Hamilton beach and stuck my feet in the tropical Pacific for the first time. Oh the delights of the warm water!

I don’t have a photo of that first ecstatic moment, but I did photograph my first hours on Hawaii, the day before I got to Kwaj for the first time.

First time in Hawaii's waters, on the first time to Hawaii--at the very crowded Waikiki Beach

First time in Hawaii’s waters, on the first time to Hawaii–at the very crowded Waikiki Beach

You can bet I’ll be dipping my feet in the New Zealand waters (no matter how cold!) at the first decent beach I go to, and surely be touching the ground soon after I’m out of the airport, to be sure it feels the same as ground the world over. 🙂

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